The website photographyisnotacrime.com frequently posts stories of photographers running into problems with police forces while legally taking photographs.
Its latest story is on Jordan McManus, an Arizona man who was photographing the Sandra Day O’Connor Courthouse when 15 police officers and a helicopter suddenly surrounded him. He had a .45 caliber handgun strapped to his side, but this is legal in Arizona.
Here is a portion of McManus’ dialogue with the officers:
“Am I being detained right now?” McManus asked.
“Absolutely you are, yes,” the police officer answers.
“You have reasonable suspicion that I committed a crime, right?” McManus said.
“Well, I’m concerned.”
“You’re concerned? Are you detaining me?”
“I am,” the officer answers.
“Under the suspicion that I committed what crime?”
“I don’t know yet. You’re not giving us any information.”
Ultimately, McManus was not detained by the police that night. He sent an email to Photography Is Not A Crime detailing what happened to him. Below is an excerpt of the email. Click here to see the full story at Photographyisnotacrime.com.
The PPD officer who initiated the contact tried to disarm me right off the bat. (I was open carrying my 1911 in a holster on my right hip). He was unsuccessful as I stood my ground and stated that I do not consent in seizures. Now I know I could have just kept my mouth shut and not played along with their game and not answered any of their questions, but I guess I have to admit it was kind of fun, as you can tell from some of my answers to the PPD questions.
Nothing dramatic ever really happened but I must say they sure did have one hell of a show of force with 15+ officers and an Air unit. I will admit, as my first time attempting to “cop block” I was a little flustered at first, and totally forgot to get officers names and badge numbers, but hey it was my first time of many I’m sure. In the video you’ll hear me make a comment about how “the only thing in my backpack is not a pressure cooker.” I said this because I overheard one of the officers behind me state that “we need to search his backpack,”and I felt like responding with a smart a-- answer.
Check out the video McManus took while being confronted by the police last night: